Thermal Analysis of the IUE-Seven Years Later 851327

The international Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) is a large astronomical observatory which was launched on January 26, 1978. The observatory was placed into a three-axis stabilized, eccentric synchronous orbit with an inclination of about 29 degrees. It was designed for a three year lifetime, but is currently still operational. This paper will briefly review the thermal design which consists of multilayer insulation, ammonia-filled grooved heat pipes, bimetallic actuated louvers, and assorted command-able heaters. It will then discuss the seven years of thermal data and compare the results with prelaunch predictions. Finally an attempt will be made to explain the unexpected and continuing rise in temperature of the hydrazine auxiliary propulsion system which has increased over twenty degrees centigrade since launch.


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